Minnesota telecommunications regulations bills: HF 985/SF 584


A few folks mentioned that the outline of the Office of Broadband Development post was helpful – so I thought I’d try to highlight some other bills in the works, such as HF985 / SF 584, bills that address oversight of telecommunications in the state especially in light of changes in the FCC that are anticipated in 2019.

The expectation is that the role of the state PUC will have diminished considerably by 2019 so this bill sets out to transition to that change. The Minnesota PUC and Department of Commerce will continue to regulate the telecommunications industry and this bill sets out some parameters.

On the one hand, existing consumer protection mandates and programs are maintained but there is some concern about some loss of regulation in AFORs, which in the past have allowed providers to negotiate greater pricing flexibility in trade for some restrictions. Basic telephone service is really pared down to refer to phone-only and while those services will remain well regulated – those services are decreasing as many consumers drop landlines and as providers look at offering advanced services.

The PUC will continue to moderate disputes between wholesale and retail providers. They will also certify Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETC’s) in accordance to the FCC’s Order and supervising Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) obligations for providers who accept Federal USF/CAF funds.

In the House (HF985)…

Description: Telecommunications enforcement authority clarified, new requirements for tariffs added, proprietary information protected, criteria for certificates of authority specified, alternative regulation plans terminated, definitions added, technical corrections made, obsolete provisions removed, and conforming changes made.

Introduced Feb 28, 2013 and referred to Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries. No other significant action since. (Get text of bill online.)

In the Senate (SF584)…

Description: Telecommunications enforcement authority clarification; tariff requirements addition; proprietary information protection; certificates of authority specification; alternative regulation plans termination

Introduced Feb 18, 2013 and referred to Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development. No other significant action since. (Get text of bill online.)